RUGBY: Wallabies star Karmichael Hunt is staring at the end of his sporting career - and a $1 million-plus contract - if he is convicted in a new cocaine scandal.
The Queensland Reds player has been charged with two counts of drug possession after being arrested in Fortitude Valley in the early hours Saturday.
It followed celebrations in a nearby bar where Hunt stood out from the crowd, wearing a "silly'' denim hat and shouting drinks for friends.
The 31-year-old faces being drummed out of rugby after he was given a second chance following convictions two years ago stemming from a Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission investigation into a cocaine-trafficking syndicate involving Gold Coast Titans NRL players.
Hunt was arrested with another man in a carpark in McLachlan St about 12.40am Saturday.
It has been reported the alleged drugs had been dropped on the ground when the men were confronted. They had been skylarking, which drew police attention.
A staff member of Gerard's Bar, in a lane behind James St and McLachlan St, said Hunt appeared to be happy and drinking "quite a lot'' late on Friday. Hunt, dressed in a denim shirt, shorts and a hat, which the staff member said looked silly, was in the bar for about two hours and left just before midnight, when the bar closed.
"He was loud, but he was no problem. He was being super friendly, a happy drunk,'' the bar staffer said. "The bartenders said he was shouting people drinks, saying 'Who wants a drink? The drinks are on me'. ''
Hunt appeared to be with a group of 10 to 20 people before he left Gerard's Bar, behind Gerard's Bistro, which was busy but not full.
Soon after leaving the bar, while in the carpark area, Hunt was approached by police and allegedly found with cocaine.
Others who left the bar were also searched by police and had their mobile phones checked.
Hunt's high-profile lawyer, Adam Magill, said: "An incident involving Karmichael Hunt occurred which resulted in his arrest. No further instructions have been taken."
He said Hunt, who is due to appear in Brisbane Magistrates Court on January 29, was very upset with the situation.
A 32-year-old man who was with him at the time of the arrest has been charged with possession of an item - believed to be a mobile phone - used in regards to a drug offence.
He has been issued with a notice to appear in court.
Rugby Australia's Integrity Unit is now investigating the matter and Hunt will be banished from training with the Reds, as happened in 2015.
"Rugby Australia takes all matters relating to the off-field behaviour of its players seriously and has commenced an investigation into the incident in conjunction with the Queensland Rugby Union," a statement said.
Hunt pleaded guilty to four counts of drugs possession arising from the CCC probe, which resulted in several Titans players also being charged, two years ago.
He was fined $2500 in court, and then slapped with a $30,000 penalty and six-week suspension by the Australian Rugby Union.
In a public display of contrition at the time, Hunt admitted he had made a "terrible mistake'' and said "the use of illicit substances has no place in sport."
- Jeremy Pierce